Leopard skirt & self love

Mixing the boundaries between vintage and modern is a theme my style heavily revolves around. I take a lot of inspiration from different past eras of fashion and this motivates most of my vintage shopping because the pieces you pick up are so authentic and truly representative of these decades, but I love it when the never-ending sartorial cycle conjures up trends that see retro items reappear on the high street. It makes it so much easier to access if you haven’t got the time to constantly root around vintage stores or don’t live in close proximity to any (since moving away from the city I’ve found it harder to source vintage pieces).

Old-fashioned themed locations are another thing that I’m into, like this cafe that my friend’s family have transformed into a fifties style diner! Since the weather has been turning I’ve been thinking more about shooting indoors and this was an incredible place to start – especially because it fits with my style so well. The bold aesthetic brings out the classic elements of my outfit, and certainly makes my red boots pop (which have lasted so well since I bought them last winter).

I’m absolutely besotted with this leopard print wrap skirt from Bershka, which is my high street rival to the Realisation Par number that has been all over social media. It was £20 and is great quality with a chic side bow and dreamy length for autumn. It looks so sophisticated with anything and I’ll be casually teaming it with a jumper and trainers or a cami and heels for evenings. Unfortunately it’s sold out online but I’ve linked another option. My cousin very thoughtfully gave me these hoop earrings (which I had actually been eyeing up to buy) after deciding she didn’t like them; I love how they add another angle to the leopard print and enhance that retro feel, and they make a change from my usual gold pair.

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about self-love and how it means something different to everyone – we all have our individual pick-me-ups and indulgent treats when we’re in need of TLC, whether it be after a long working week, a stressful day or even a heavy night out. But it’s occurred to me that there are only certain times I will adopt the mentality that I need to appreciate myself, and more often than not I let the negative mindset of guilt for a mistake I have made, or the pressure of getting things done and pleasing everyone else get in the way. Why is it like that? Why can’t I practice self-love every minute of every day, regardless of every gym day I miss or task I forget to do or hangover I struggle through?

I saw a quote on Instagram (which I stupidly didn’t save and now can’t find) about loving yourself even when you’ve had a few too many drinks and made a drunken mistake, even when you eat too much or don’t feel like exercising, even when you cancel a plan because you don’t feel like going or spend all day in bed watching Netflix. It really resonated with me and made me think about how we shouldn’t love ourselves in spite of all these ‘bad things’ (which aren’t really bad at all) and instead love ourselves because of them; at the end of the day no one is perfect and mistakes help us keep learning and figure out what’s best for us.

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I think we are so quick to shun ourselves for doing something wrong, than take a look at all the amazing little achievements and good deeds we succeed in every single day. So, after realising this, I’m making a conscious effort to engage in self-love all the time, both mentally and physically – by reminding myself of what I have done, rather than kick myself for what I haven’t. I’ll be grateful for my relationships and friendships with people who love me for who I am, I’ll focus on my good qualities and I’ll run a bubble bath or turn to retail therapy if I’m having a bad day and need to get back on track. It’s not vain or selfish, it’s important and healthy and needs to be talked about more.

Fashion is an outlet that helps me a lot in feeling positive about myself, because it helps me channel my thoughts and personality into something I enjoy. For me, when I dress in an outfit I love and feel comfortable in I feel good about myself, and it gives me a little boost to keep on going and think ‘I’ve got this’. I suppose that’s the same for everyone and their individual hobbies, whether it be playing a sport you love or travelling or drawing.

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T SHIRT H&M | SKIRT Bershka (sold out, similar here)| BOOTS Pull & Bear (old, similar here) | EARRINGS Topshop

The day we shot this I wasn’t in a particularly great headspace – and the last thing I wanted was to pose for the camera – but getting all dressed up in an ensemble that represents me so much is my way of putting on a brave face and getting on with it.

Self-love comes in a different fit for everyone and although it’s a long journey that doesn’t stick overnight, I’d like to think I’m on the road to finding out how to get there.
Lily x

ph. Anna Herring

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